How are you doing at shining God's light on the people in your life? Are you "salty" as you share God's truths in love? Nicole and Sharon move from the Beatitudes and Attitudes to Actions this week. What does it look like to live in such a way that people see Jesus in us? Join us for today's show. We love comments, so add your thoughts to this episode below. Thanks for watching!
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome friend. It’s time to hit pause on your busy day and enjoy the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. Let’s ponder God’s Word together and find the encouragement we need to work well and rest well. The Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to episode 16 of the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. We are calling this episode Actions. Last week we talked about our attitudes as we looked at the Beatitudes. This week we’re going to hear a call to action because after the Sweet Selah moments, when we meet with God, we then move out and act on what he has told us to do. Let’s dive in.
Nicole, I am excited about this week’s episode because Sweet Selah Ministries is all about calling women to stop the busy and hear from God we don’t often chat about what happens after the quiet time thing. We just kind of stick there. But today we’re going to look at some challenging words from Jesus. He started the sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, and we saw how he had compassion on the hurting in the crowd. He wanted them to know how God loves people and cares for them and has good plans for them.
But as we move into the next section of his sermon, we discover that God also wants us to act in certain ways. We don’t do it out of any sense of earning heaven. That is a free gift to all who come to Christ, but we do act out of loyalty to him. If Jesus is the center of our lives and if he is the Lord of us, he gets to tell us what to do. So we’re going to look at some of the commands today because he tells us to obey them. What are some commands that God gives you that aren’t too hard for you that are pretty easy for you to do?
Let’s see, I think out of some of the commands trusting God has always come more easily to me than the other ones. I’ve seen his faithfulness so many times in my own life that my faith in him, knowing he’s got me no matter what, doesn’t waiver much. I grew up with a mom who had an unshakable faith in him, and that made a huge impression on me.
Oh, that is so wonderful. What a heritage.
I know. Yeah.
Yeah. Well, you know, sometimes I covet, but that’s not one of the big ones I wrestle with. The anger thing. Oh, I wrestled with that one. I’m pretty, pretty much happy with what I have. And so that’s a blessing. So that’s one that’s not so hard. And like you, I have good parents. Honoring them is much easier than obeying them when I was a kid.
(laughing) I know.
Let’s just put it that way. I love honoring them. I love visiting them every week and listening to their stories. That is one of the easier commandments for me, but they’re not all easy. So let’s just sort of, you know, talk about some of the hard ones I’ll put myself in the hot seat first. One of my hardest is to treat Ray with a respect that I’m asked to do as his wife. When I think I’m right it is really hard for me to listen to him and respect him enough to hear why he thinks differently, because I’m just so sure that, you know, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Which is not respectful. I mean, to not even listen. I can run over him with my words cause he’s very methodical. He’s very quiet. It takes him a while to form the sentences because he actually cares what he says out loud. Hmm. Yeah. I don’t always care what I say out loud like I should, I just run my mouth.
Yes, all the thoughts.
And I’m not respectful. So that is a command I struggle with to treat Ray with proper respect. So that’s a hard one. Also the turn the other cheek thing, which we’ll get to, in the Sermon on the Mount. You know, somebody hurts you, turn your other cheek, you know, forgive. My first response is defensive. I want to hurt back. And then I feel badly about it. But that’s a hard command for me.
It really is. And being satisfied with enough when it comes to eating. I’m really working on that right now and I’m doing okay at it. But if I see a piece of candy, I don’t go, Oh, how wonderful that one piece of candy would taste. I’m like, wow, but five would be better.
Except it wouldn’t. And that’s gluttony, you know, I’m to eat enough. So, there are some commands that are hard for me. How about you? Do you have any commands that are kind of hard for you?
Well, it’s like you’ve been watching me and Josh have conversations. They sound very similar to you and Ray’s conversations. Poor guy. Waiting on God is hard. Waiting for him. Waiting for his timing. Sometimes I just want to run ahead and do it myself. And sometimes being content where I’m at. Just feeling like I have enough of everything, really. I just, I love life and all the adventures it has to offer. And I’m always looking for the next thing. And being present and just being satisfied with where I am right now. That’s something God has really been, “Okay. Nicole, be present’.
This is where you are.
Color on the floor or whatever it is.
Exactly. Just be here.
Oh man. Well, it’s good to know we struggle. And I suspect everybody listening has struggles too in having our actions match up with what the Lord, who has the right to tell us what to do, tells us to do. So Nicole, why don’t you read our Sweet Selah moment for the day? We’re going to read Matthew five, 13 to 20. Why don’t you read that for us? And let’s listen to what Jesus has to say about how we should act.
All right. Matthew five, 13 through 20. You are the salt of the earth, but what good is salt if it has lost its flavor. Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights, a lamp, and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand where it will give light to everyone in the house. In the same way. Let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly father. Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth until heaven and earth disappear not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you’ll be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. But I warn you unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
This part’s interesting.
I know it. And he doesn’t want us to misunderstand. You know, sometimes maybe we get this feeling that Jesus is all mercy and kindness and love and we’re forgiven no matter what we do. So whatever, you know, just give me more grace. No. No. The commands that God gave are still the commands.
They’re still there. And so he’s sort of pivoting now from the first section and bringing us into a section that deals with action. And we’re going to start by talking about salt because he says we’re the salt of the earth. And I have an interesting relationship with salt because I have Meniere’s disease. So I can’t have a lot of it, but I can’t have none because salt is essential for the human body and I have to have a minimum number of milligrams every day. But if I have too much, then I have Meniere’s seizures like in my brain. So salt and I, we talk a lot.
So, but salt not only adds flavor to cooking, which I’ve had to learn to do without. It actually somehow changes the composition of the foods it is mixed in with somehow. I don’t completely understand it, but I remember when Mary lived with us and she was cooking for us. Mary is like the gourmet chef who loves doing all this stuff.
Oh, nice. Yeah.
And she was like, Mom, I’ve got to put a little bit of salt in this recipe. It won’t be too much to hurt you. But without it, something wonderful won’t happen. Nicole, I can’t even tell you It was very chemistry oriented, what she said. And when I hear chemistry my mind goes away.
Oh, I’m with you.
But anyway, salt is important for cooking as well as flavor. It’s also a preservative. We know that, and it helped for centuries to keep meat from spoiling before the current age of the freezer and refrigerator. So, okay, here’s the salt. Why Nicole, would Jesus tell us we are the salt of the earth and after you’ve answered that profound question, what would a flavorless, unsalted Christian look like? Tell me, tell me.
Well, yeah, salt. Hmm. I don’t think that’s something we often compare ourselves to. But like you said, salt is really important. It has many different uses depending on the circumstance. Like you said, you talked about the preservatives, it preserves things. It can also, it’s used in recipes to control the yeast. So it doesn’t get to be too much and grow out of control. And I Googled that. I didn’t know that before today. Unlike Mary, who knows what she’s doing.
Mary would know and she’d explain why.
I have no idea I just sprinkle it in, but it controls the growth of yeast in a recipe. And it balances out the oil in baking too, which seems important. Super cool. So my thought is, since Christ is in us and it’s he who makes us salty. We then go out and live in this sinful world and we’re mixing in with people and doing life with them. And it helps control the decline of truth in the world because we have God’s truth in us and we’re a light to the world like a preservative. And we can help enhance people’s lives by sharing God’s love and showing by our lives because of Christ in us that there’s a better way to live and that we can live with hope.
So that’s kind of what I thought about being the salt. And then, flavorless Christian? I think a flavorless Christian might be someone who may have asked Jesus to forgive them, but never fully submitted their heart to God’s way of living, maybe so on the outside, they may seem very much the same adding no spiritual benefit to those who interact with them.
Yeah. Yeah. They’re not distinctive. We have to be distinctive.
And the next part where Jesus talks about us being a light, there it is, again, we need to shine. We’re to look different. We’re to look different. We add the flavor, all that stuff. And also when people see us, there should be something that distinguishes us from the darkness. It just should. So, okay. If my good deeds are supposed to point to Christ, I can’t be a secret Christian. I can’t.
I need to let people know somehow that I follow Jesus. Now that doesn’t mean that when I first move into the neighborhood, I say, hi, I’m Sharon. I follow Jesus. How about you?
Run around with a sign. (laughing)
Right, “Jesus Follower”. In fact, normally people discover you’re a Christian just by the things you do. They notice you go to church on Sundays. They notice you don’t swear. You know? I used to be a waitress to earn my way through college. And I worked at this restaurant called the Sword and Shield and I didn’t swear. And so they kind of knew I was a Christian by day two, or they thought I was, or at least religious. But then one horrible day, talk about being persecuted for your faith, they found out somehow that I declared all my tips. So I was saying, you know, I made $70 in a night or a hundred dollars in a night. And they were saying they made 15.
Yeah. I got surrounded by a group of older waitresses. And I was like, 19 at the time saying, how dare you declare all your tips because now the IRS is going to go, how come this one waitress at the Sword and Shield makes $80 in tips.
And everybody is making 15? It was really hard.
But I did. I stood out.
Yeah. Yeah. Definitely.
And I wasn’t trying to stand out. It just kind of happened to me, you know?
New Speaker (12:37):
And I think, I think if we are, if we are living for him, it will happen. It just will.
Without us trying so hard.
Without us trying, I mean, we say things like, Oh, my church is sponsoring these orphans from Ethiopia. We’re so excited. A new one’s coming in tomorrow night. Or, yeah, I know there’s a lot of hunger. You know, our church has a food bank and we do whatever, you know. Just saying it because it’s part of our life, you know. But we can’t be secret. We can’t hide it or we’ve lost our flavor. We’re like you said, we’re flavorless. We do need to honestly share all our lives though with unbelievers. We don’t just kind of act Holy all the time.
I feel like it’s super important that we’re just us. When we’re scared, when we’re angry, we can share it, but share it in the context of Christianity. I am so mad right now and I’ve been praying so hard because I know I shouldn’t be. You know? And that’s the full truth. I get mad, but I know I shouldn’t be. You know, and if people can see us as we are. The struggles, the hard parts, as well as the good parts, they see the real us. And that’s, you know what, that’s when our light shines. It’s not, if we act perfect, it’s when we show that Jesus in us is necessary. That we’re needy. You know what I mean?
Yes, so needy.
We’re needy. We don’t do well without God, basically.
No we don’t.
So looking at this, I think there’s two questions we need to ask ourselves on this light and salt thing. Number one, do we shine in the way we live? Are we flavorful? Are we different? Are we distinctive? Are there distinctives about us? And number two, does Jesus get the credit for it? Or is it just like, you know, Oh, Sharon, you’re always so happy. Well, yeah, I have a nice life.
I’m just a happy girl.
I’m just, you know, I’m sanguine. Yes I am. I’m just a happy person. God gets no glory for that.
So but what do you say, Nicole? I mean, all right, your turn. How do you point to Jesus when you’re complimented without coming across uber strange?
Right, well, it is tough. I think, I think it’s easier with believers to point back to Jesus. So like thank you for whatever. Like, Oh, thanks for serving the worship team.
Oh, I’m so glad that blessed you today. Not, Oh thank you, I’m a lovely singer. But like, I’m glad that blessed you. Or praise God, you know; that’s awesome that we could worship and experience God together. I think with nonbelievers or people you encounter in the store or at work, cause like, usually I’m in the store with my four kids and everyone’s like, you’re such a good mom.
You’re such a wonderful mom. And I’m like, huh, huh. You know, frazzled and running out the door. And it’s hard to be like, well actually it’s Christ in me that makes me kind. So usually I say like, thanks, but it’s God, I’m a mess without him. You know? And I kinda feel like I leave them hanging a little bit with that, but maybe they’ll go, what is she talking about? And go look up God, you know?
I love that. Yeah.
That’s usually my quick throw out phrase as I’m running.
Thanks God. And I’m a mess without him. I’m going to remember that because is that not the truth?
It is. It’s a quick overview of my whole life. Like thanks, it’s God. Don’t think it’s just me.
Because I’m a mess.
I am very much a mess.
But he has saved me. And he’s made me much better.
Yes, thank you Lord.
Thank you Lord. I love that. That’s really neat. Okay. Well let’s reread the last part of this section of scripture now, as we turn to obeying commands. Starting at verse 17, I’ll read it. Don’t misunderstand says, Jesus, why I’ve come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth until heaven and earth disappear not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.
So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. But I warn you unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Oh boy. I bet that had people scratching their heads. What! Those Pharisees. I mean, they do it all right. They know rules I’ve forgotten you know?
Yeah, they make up new ones.
Yeah, and then they make up more. That’s exactly right. So there’s two things to note here. I think first the law of Moses, the Ten Commandments is still applicable today. That Jesus seems to be saying that. You still can’t murder. No, just can’t do it. Right.
Don’t relax on that one.
God is still the only one and we can’t have idols. That’s still applicable. And so are all the teachings of the prophets. That Old Testament is still worth reading. It matters. Second don’t ever think that we can be righteous enough by obeying these things. We can’t, you know, we’d have to be righteous-er then those Pharisees that spent their entire life memorizing 600 and something crazy laws. Jesus will go on to show his disciples over time that although it is so good to obey him, that’s not what makes us righteous. And of course it’s his death and resurrection, his cleansing of our sin, his clothing us with righteousness that makes us righteous. But we still have to obey.
But just not for the reason we might think.
Yes. Not to be perfect.
Right. Yeah. Let’s read, actually let’s have Nicole read Ephesians two, eight through 10, which kind of says it better than I’m trying to say it anyway.
Oh, yeah, I love these verses. So verse , verse eight, God saved you by his grace. When you believed. You can’t take credit for this, it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done. So none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus. So we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
There we go.
I love those verses.
I do too.
They are so good.
They are, they are, salvation is a gift. It’s not a reward for obeying commands. In fact, we’re the mess you’ve talked about without him. So it’s just his gift to us is wonderful. But we were created to do good things and walk in his way from the beginning and doing so will bless us abundantly. And I think that is the key. Commands are for our good, not our harm. You know, when I strap a little grandchild into the car seat, it’s not because I delight in torturing him, you know, and saying, no, you can’t move. You need to stop.
That’s how they act when you buckle them in.
Exactly. You’ve got a heavy coat on them. And they’re like, make it looser, make it looser. You know, all that. Why do I do that? Because I think it’s fun to strait jacket a kid.
No, it’s because I know what will happen if we get in a car accident. That child will die.
And they don’t know that.
And they don’t know that, but it’s for their good. And so are the commands. So let’s just look at a couple. Let’s take, for example, adultery. I believe there’s a downside to adultery and I believe that the reason God says don’t do it is for our good and our blessing. What do you think?
Yeah, that’s a heavy one for sure. So I looked it up and adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse. So this one is tricky. I honestly don’t think many affairs start intentionally. Some do for sure. But if we’re not careful, this one can sneak up on any of us. What starts as us looking for sympathy or seeking advice, maybe from the opposite gender during vulnerable times in our marriage or in our lives can quickly lead to more intimate interactions that can cause real damage. We all know marriage is hard and an outsider who’s just showing us their good side can be pretty tempting. Cause all we see is our flaws and our spouses flaws because we live with them all the time.
So we really need to guard our hearts on this one. No one is free from this temptation. But as far as damaging, the ripple effects of adultery, it seems to be so far reaching. It can destroy one or both marriages. It can break up whole families in its wake. Friendships can be lost because of this. The physical and emotional consequences can be longterm as well. And it’s pretty devastating.
Relationships are so hard to repair and it can take years to restore them with hurt, loved ones. And sometimes they’re just never repaired. Running from the guilt of it can cause some pretty disruptive behaviors too. If we don’t go to Christ right away for forgiveness and restoration, it’s just ugly. Sharon. I think this one can stay with us for a really long time.
It sure can. Yeah. And God’s, God’s telling us not to do it because he knows this because he loves us like I love the grandkid smushed into the car seat. Don’t do this, whatever temporary satisfaction you think you’re going to get, it’s going to be so short-lived and the consequences are going to hurt and hurt and hurt. And we’ve seen it. I mean, I don’t know that there’s anybody, you know, that’s above the age of 20 who hasn’t seen the devastation that adultery can cause.
Right. Or anyone that said they were happy that they had an affair; that got benefits more than consequences.
It just doesn’t work that way.
It doesn’t, it just hurts. It does. Well. Hmm. How about stealing?
Stealing is another one where, you know, whether you’re stealing something small or big, you’re taking something that doesn’t belong to you. And I think that affects a lot of things negatively starting with a guilty conscience and Satan’s ability to just, you know, accuse you all the time. What are some of the other things? Why is stealing bad?
Why is stealing bad? It starts, it’s a dishonesty thing too. You can start with something small and then it always, it never stays small. I think if you continue, it just kind of builds up to bigger and bigger, you know, as you build your confidence in it. But I also think that it destroys trust. You know.
If people find out that’s a really big one. You can lose your job. You can go to jail and get shot if you’re trying to rob somebody.
Yes, that’s right.
It’s so not good on so many levels. And definitely another sin kind of goes with it. And it’s the sin of loss of contentment. If you’re stealing, you’re taking something you want that does not belong to you.
You’ve lost your integrity. You’ve lost your ability to walk without looking over your shoulder hoping no one sees you.
Right. I was going to say you’re probably always distracted too, because you’re either thinking about how to steal something or how to not to get caught. Right? Like that’s not a fun burden to bear.
There’s absolutely no peace. There’s none. You’re nervous all the time.
I would think so.
Yes. Alright. Okay, coveting. Coveting means yearning. I think yearn is a good word because it’s not just like, Oh, I like your sweater. It’s like yearning to possess your sweater or whatever. Have something, have your heart set on something.
That’s a lot of focus that is put on that.
Yeah. Yeah. So, you share a little bit about coveting and then I have a story about coveting.
A story to tell.
The yearning and the having one’s heart set on, it seems like your life would be pretty miserable when you covet. Because if you’re so busy yearning and your heart is set and focused on something else, you’re not looking at your own life and finding the joy or the happiness in what God has given us. He gives us things based on what we need for our good, for our growth. And we’re going to miss that. We’re going to miss the lesson or the blessing in our own life. If we’re always like, Oh, they have this and it’s so much better. It would just be a miserable way to live.
It would. It would. Yeah. I remember a time when we first bought our house where I did suffer from a little bit of covetousness. I had a very small kitchen. I still have a small kitchen. You’ve seen my kitchen. It’s small. There was no dishwasher in my kitchen. I did come from houses with dishwashers.
Oh yes. That’s a hard transition.
I still had two girls at home. And I started to get just this, you know, nasty attitude about my small kitchen and how everybody else had bigger kitchens kind of thing. You know? And then I attended a church or something where a pastor was talking about a trip to Haiti where the huts that he looked at could sleep 10 people right next to each other, you know, side by side for the whole hut. And they cooked outside, but 20 people needed the hut. So they would sleep in shifts.
You’d have your 10 person smushy in the hut, under a roof to sleep and then you’d have to leave. And 10 more would come in.
Oh my goodness.
Like the size of my kitchen, that’s all they had.
And it’s so strange because I don’t often get like visions, but all of a sudden I saw a woman from Haiti. I just saw her looking at me and looking at my kitchen and going really? Really?
I have never forgotten that. And I thought, yeah, here I am with cooking inside and several bedrooms and living rooms to sit in and no one sleeps on my kitchen floor and I have hot water and cold water. It was, it was crazy. But it really, it’s why I don’t struggle with covetousness as much anymore because that just shook it out of me. Oh yeah. You know, and if ever, ever I’m tempted to wander that way again, I just recall her face. Really?
Really? This is what you’re upset about. You know, I think you’re so right. Covetousness robs us of seeing all we have. So when we take action for God, and we’re not just attituding but we’re actioning for him, we are obeying him because he tells us to because we love him. But also because we trust that the commands he’s giving us are good for us. My goodness gracious! He’s not doing it because he’s some torture person. He’s doing it because he’s a loving father and he wants what’s best for us. So I want to shine for Jesus. I want to be salt for him, but I also want to walk out what he asks me to do. And some days I do it better than others.
Yes. I think if our attitude, our attitude again, if our attitude is that we know his commands are for our good they’re easier to follow. You know, if we think of it that way. Like he’s a loving father, keeping us from burning our fingers on the stove. Or from dying in a car crash or being miserable.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
It’s for our good.
It’s for our good. And if we do get burned a couple of times we avoid the stove.
So when we see how, you know, that bitter attitude really hasn’t gained anything for us, it helps us say, Oh yes, Lord, you are so wise and I am not. Right. Yeah. Well, let’s close out this session. I’ll pray for us and then you can wrap it up.
Okay. Oh father, God, we love you. And we are so grateful that you care enough to give us good commands for our welfare, for our blessing and not for our harm. Father as we walk among people that don’t know and love you, would you help us to be salt and light? God, we want to shine for you in an attractive way. Lord, we don’t want to be screaming people into the kingdom. We want to show them by our lives that you have brought us joy and that when we mess up, which we do, we have a place to run. Jesus be with everyone listening and be with Nicole and me this week. Help us please to shine for you and to show people the joy it is to belong to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Well friends let’s shine this week. Okay. And please come back next week for episode 17 Anger Issues. Now there’s something that can take that shine off. Please share a podcast with your friends and follow us. Positive reviews will help us get noticed as well. If you could bless us in that way, we would love that. And donations would also be a blessing. You can find our podcast @sweetselah.org/podcasts, and you can donate @sweetselah.org/donate. Mostly though, thanks for being part of the Sweet Selah moment sisterhood. We are so glad you stopped and spent some time with us. Can’t wait to chat some more next week. May God bless you and pour out his favor upon you.
Speaker 1 (29:26):
We are so glad you stopped for awhile with us. The Sweet Selah Moments podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and print the transcript here.